community based organization

How to register a community based organization in Kenya

One of the best ways to enhance development at grassroots levels is through collaboration. Working together as a community ensures that everyone is contributing to the success of the community, leading to bigger and more successful development projects. These projects are usually spearheaded by groups known as a community based organization.

According to the UN, a community based organization (CBO) is a local group that encourages people to take control of different aspects of their lives such as economical, cultural, and environmental.

In Kenya, community based organization have been a part of the culture since time immemorial. From old to young, everyone can form or be a part of a community development group that shares the same interests and values that they do.

It’s important to register a CBO for formality and to facilitate administrative and social functions. Registration can be done at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. Here are the steps to register a community based organization in Kenya.

Requirements to register a CBO in Kenya

The CBO must meet certain requirements before being registered. They include:

  • Have a minimum of 10 members
  • 75% of members should be Kenyans
  • Foreigners cannot be the chairman or secretary of a CBO in Kenya
  • Must not be involved in politics or profit-making activities

Documents required include:

  • Registration form signed by the area chief or local government official
  • Minutes of the meeting seeking registration
  • A duly signed list of members including names, ID numbers, CBO positions and signatures
  • CBO’s constitution, by-laws or rules
  • Memorandum of Understanding of the CBO was formed through amalgamation
  • Proposed CBO’s physical address, email address and phone number
  • Certificate of Participation
  • Receipt of registration fee

Application process to register a CBO in Kenya

  • Get the registration form from any Huduma Center, sub-county’s Public Service office or sub-county’s Labour and Social Protection office
  • Fill the form correctly and attach the CBO’s constitution, list of members, MOU where applicable, and minutes seeking registration
  • Return the application to the Huduma Center, sub-county’s Public Service office or sub-county’s Labour and Social Protection office
  • Pay the registration fee of Ksh 5,000
  • Wait for approximately 5 days for the registration to be approved
  • If approved, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Office will issue a Certificate of Registration to the CBO

Important things to note:

  • The minutes must contain elected officials with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The most important positions to be filled are Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
  • Every member must have a copy of the constitution and commit to its terms. The constitution must outline the CBO’s mission, objectives and purpose.
  • Registration is valid for 3 years. A renewal form must be submitted to the Registrar of Societies before the expiry date
  • The CBO can change its name but it must be recorded in official documents and approved by the Registrar of Societies.
  • Operating an unregistered CBO is illegal in Kenya and can attract a fine, a prison sentence or both.